WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers #10 by Jason Aaron, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert and Andrea Sorrentino, in stores now.
The latest Avengers comic series may have only hit Issue #10 with its latest release, but the issue is actually a milestone: It is the 700th issue in the title's overall run throughout the years. For that reason, the issue itself doesn't just offer the latest chapter in the super team's latest struggle against Namor the Sub-Mariner -- it provides answers (as well as many new questions) for the future to the title and the Marvel Universe as a whole.
Plus, and decidedly most noteworthy, as the issue comes to a close, a brand-new team member joins the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
For a while now, we've known that another Marvel character would join the Avengers. After all, in Avengers #8, Doctor Strange, who had been fighting alongside the team ever since the start of the new series, left his chair vacant to serve in a reserve capacity. Therefore, there was a seat open... and now, we finally know who will be taking his place. He's another character born of the occult, just not the one anyone expected: Blade, the vampire hunter.
The reveal takes place in a short story that closes Avengers #10. The brief sequence, which is drawn by master of the macabre Andrea Sorrentino, finds the Wasp, newly christened Agent of Wakanda, on the hunt for Blade in the vampire-infested realm of Transylvania. Inside the castle of Dracula, the Wasp evades capture by hordes of blood-sucking vampires in order to locate her target: An imprisoned Eric Brooks, Blade.
"How'd you like to join the Avengers?" The Wasp asks him, to which he answers with a promising, and almost cheer-worthy: "Get me my swords." The cliffhanger ending is quite shocking to say the least, given that Blade isn't the first, second or 15th character we believed would join the Avengers next. While, some time ago, he did pose as Ronin for a bit as a member of the Mighty Avengers, Blade isn't the biggest of team players, to say the least. He's fought alongside supernatural teams such as the Midnight Sons every now and then, but one way or another, Blade always works best on his own. But that is all set to change now that he has been called up to the big leagues.
Now, the vampire hunter is set to join Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Hulk, Black Panther and Ghost Rider to battle cosmic Celestials and frightening creatures from the deep. His presence on the roster opens an interesting avenue to explore, and the addition of his personality is sure to lead to some interesting clashes with his fellow Avengers. For one, we imagine that the relationship between Eric and Ghost Rider might lead to some fiery exchanges.
Why, exactly, the Wasp was sent out to recruit Blade specifically remains to be seen, but given the rise of vampires in Romania, perhaps this supernatural threat is just the beginning of something greater, and far darker. After all, as we have seen in this very issue, the future of the Marvel Universe is filled with all manner of dark menaces -- therefore, a daylight-defying vampire hunter might just be what the Avengers need to face whatever comes next.